Chai Lifeline

Chai Lifeline
Chai Lifeline
Formation 1986
Type Non-profit NGO
Purpose/focus Cancer Support
Headquarters New York, N.Y.
Location 151 West 30th Street
Region served International
Executive Vice President Rabbi Simcha Scholar
Key people Sam Zaks, executive director, development
Mordechai Gobioff, director of client services
Esther Schwartz, director of hospital services
Staff 90
Volunteers 5,455

Chai Lifeline is a New York City based tax exempt[1] organization with multiple branches worldwide. Found in 1986 by Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline was primarily a cancer support organization that mushroomed into an umbrella organization which carries the motto Fighting Illness With Love[2]. Chai Lifeline ensures that ill children get minimally effected thus bringing happiness to their tough childhood, also creating programs for their families so that the child doesn't feel the impact. They also ease the financial burden devastating illnesses by offering all types of free services to stricken families. A widely acclaimed project is its pilot program - Camp Simcha a summer camp for children battling cancer and other hematological illnesses[3]. Camp Simcha has since expanded and opened a second branch Camp Simcha Special for children with debilitating chronic conditions. Another program they initiated is the Chai Support Crisis Intervention program. This program ensures that children don't suffer of trauma when experiencing the loss of a loved-one and so forth. Often working in a team with other bereavement organizations as Misaskim to bring joy to young orphans thus alleviating their pain[4], whereas also using their joint team for other trauma related incidents[5]. Chai Lifeline is funded by Jewish philanthropists and other fundraising receptions[6]. They also receive government funding and grants[7].


Camp Simcha

Camp Simcha is a 125-acre (0.51 km2) campus that offers children with cancer ages 5–20 an unforgettable experience to forget about their illnesses for a while. Campers enjoy traditional camp activities, including mini-golf, pottery, crafts workshops, modified sports, color war, and talent shows. Special events include: helicopter rides, concerts, and interactive games and shows. There’s also an on-site arcade, computer-games center, library, and screening room. A magnificent pool with innovative ramp and water-submersible wheelchairs enables that every child can go swimming. A waterfront boasts the Chai Seas motorboat, a pontoon boat capable of holding an entire bunk, including wheelchair-dependent children, paddle and bumper boats.

The camp program is directed by Peter Steinherz, MD and an entire team of oncologists, pediatric oncology nurses, EMTs, social workers and physical therapists. In case of emergencies, an acute transport ambulance is on-site at all times, and accompanies campers on any trips. A Medevac helicopter is on call, and can reach the camp within five minutes.

It maintains a website at Launched in June 2010[8].

Camp Simcha Special

Camp Simcha Special was created in 2001 to meet the medical and social needs of children and teens with disparate chronic and genetic ailments. Located on the same campus as Camp Simcha it boasts the same grounds and activities where children forget about their illness for the time being. The program is directed by Dr Robert van Amerongen with a staff of pediatric specialists, nurses, EMTs, social workers and physical therapists[9].

Hospital and Home-Based Services

Advocacy and Case Management - a team of case managers that offer emotional support and vital information. Insurance Support Service - Providing general information including: explaining insurance coverage and helping to complete reimbursement applications. Meal Support - Providing hot nourishing meals to hospitalized patients and their families, many times also supplying food for families with a sick child when cooking is impossible. Transportation Services - Transportation to and from medical centers and doctors’ appointments. Chai House A house located in the close proximity of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to accommodate family.


Chailine Telephone Support Groups - Parents of children with similar prognosis discuss their situations offering support via conference calls facilitated by professional therapists. Healing Hearts Bereavement Program - Annual weekend retreats and counseling where parents who lost a beloved child are comforted. Chai Family Centers - Community-based counseling centers help children and parents cope with the impact of illness on their lives. Short-term counseling - Transient advice for ill children, their parents and/or siblings is available through regional offices. ChaiNet - A community by and for Chai Lifeline families, Chai Net allows parents to exchange information and support one another in their battles against pediatric illness. Partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure Chai Lifeline provides counseling for Jewish women with breast cancer[10].

Educational Assistance

ChaiLink - Webcam connections that link hospitalized or recuperating children to classrooms, teachers, and friends, and loans of laptop computers loaded with educational software. Homebound Educational Learning Program - A tutoring program that enable hospitalized or recuperating children to keep up with their schoolwork.

Recreational Activities and Events

Adventures in Art - Creative art and art therapy activities that encourage children to express their feelings visually. Heart-to-Heart - Through phone calls, visits, email and social networking, Big Brothers and Big Sisters form lifelong friendships with seriously ill children and/or their siblings that help them make it through the rough times. Bellows Family Day - It’s a great day for Chai Lifeline families, who enjoy a memorable day at Six Flags Great America every spring. Annual Winter Retreat - Three days of needed rest and relaxation, friendship and support, professional guidance and family time for Chai Lifeline families in the United States and Canada[11]. Our SIBS - Year-round activities offer brothers and sisters the chance to make friends and express the often conflicting, bewildering emotions common to children and teens living with an ill sibling. A Mother-to-Mother Retreat - a 48 hour retreat for mothers to take care of themselves before returning to their roles as primary caregivers for their families. Toy Drive - a project to collect new toys for Chai Lifeline children. Music in Our lives - Year-round programs that encourage children and adults to express themselves through the wonder and magic of music. Holiday Parties and Events - Celebrating holiday seasons with parties in hospitals across the country. Family parties in major cities, carnivals, and spring and fall events bring clients together for fun, food, and gifts[12]. I-Shine - An after-school program that infuses joy for siblings of ill children or a loss in the family.

Crisis Intervention and Bereavement Services

Chai has a team of mental health professionals ready to indulge in a scenario where professional help is needed. In aftermaths where tragedy strikes, a team led by Dr. Norman Blumenthal[13] offers emotional and professional support to educators, parents, friends, and families. Project C.H.A.I. received media attention many times most notably after the terror attack at the Chabad House in Mumbai, India, where the team led a global effort to help children manage their fear and grief.

Trips & Vacations

Chai Lifeline arranges trips for children who spend their days in and out of the hospital. Sponsored by The Ohr Meir foundation, children spend four magical days at Florida's Disney world, Universal, and Sea World theme parks. Wish at the Wall takes teens on a 10 day vacation to Israel[14][15]. In addition, a family center at their Camp Simcha campus is available to families in need of respite when camp isn't in session. Also, the famous River Retreat, a single-family home on several acres in the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, families can enjoy walks, fishing, or just watching the magnificent wildlife that surrounds the comfortable and spacious four-bedroom home. Those trips offer families a chance to enjoy one another’s company free from the distractions of everyday life and are potent medicine for children on active treatment.


See also

  • Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society


  1. ^ New York NY 10001- Tax Exempt Organizations and 10001 New York New York Non Profit Organizations
  2. ^ When in Dire Straits, a Group Offers a Hand | The Jewish Exponent
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Yeshiva World PHOTOS: Misaskim Hosts Important Meeting Between NYPD Brass & Many Bais Yaakov Administrators « » Frum Jewish News
  6. ^ The Yeshiva World PHOTOS: Chai Lifeline Lakewood 10th Anniversary Reception « » Frum Jewish News
  7. ^ The Yeshiva World City Council Delivers Over $5 Million Of ‘Kosher Pork’ « » Frum Jewish News
  8. ^ News Article:
  9. ^ Camp Simcha Special Changes A Family's Life
  10. ^ YouTube - 2010 30 Second Public Service Announcement
  11. ^ The Yeshiva World » Frum Jewish News
  12. ^ The Yeshiva World Sukkos Brings Simcha to Chai Lifeline’s Children « » Frum Jewish News
  13. ^ The Yeshiva World Trained Chai Lifeline Volunteers Assist Students During Tragedy « » Frum Jewish News
  14. ^ Teenage Cancer Survivors on Thanksgiving Trip to Israel - Good News - Israel News - Israel National News
  15. ^ The Yeshiva World Leading Rabbonim Offer Brochos to Chai Lifeline’s Children During Their Wish At The Wall Trip « » Frum Jewish News

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